Noake's Worcestershire Page 99


inheritance but by purchase from the family of Vaulx, became lord of the manor, and that his grandson, Sir John Acton, of Elmley Lovett, sold it in 1615 to William Berkeley, of Cowley, near Malvern, brother of Judge Berkeley, and eldest son of Rowland Berkeley, of Worcester and Spetchley, lineally descended from the Earls of that name.

The church, dedicated to St. Leonard, formerly belonged to the priory of Westwood, and consists merely of nave, chancel, Norman arch between, and vestry room on the north side, under which is the Berkeley vault. At the Dissolution the patronage fell to the Worcestershire families of Pakington, Habingdon, and Evett. It was sold in 1623 ohn Evett, of Woodhall, Hallow, to the William Berkeley before mentioned, county sheriff in 1618, who was fined for refusing to take the order of knighthood at the coronation of Charles I. The Rev. W. C. Berkeley is now the incumbent; W. Berkeley, Esq., patron.

Nash, in the supplement to his history, mentions that 'Sir Rowland Berkeley of the Middle Temple, M.P. for the city of Worcester, and a cavalier officer, happened to have two piebald horses exactly alike, and one of them he rode at the battle of Worcester. When the battle was lost Sir Rowland escaped to Cotheridge as best he might, and leaving his exhausted charger at one of his farmhouses, went straightway to bed. It was not long, as he had foreseen, that a troop of Cromwell's army made their appearance at the Court, and demanded to see Sir Rowland. They were told he was ill in bed, hut this did not prevent their rushing into his room. "So you were fighting against us at Worcester to-day, were you ?" asked the crop-heads. " I!" says Mr. Berkeley, faintly and innocently. "Why I am sick and forced to keep my bed!" " All very fine," said they, "but you were there, and very conspicuous, riding a piebald charger." "It could not have been I," says the sick man, "for though I certainly do ride a piebald charger when I am in health, yet he has never been out of the stable all